Summer in Phoenix means one thing: Everyone's pretending they're somewhere else. If you can't actually get out of town to escape the heat, make the most of the Valley of the Sun at one of these top hotels and resorts. There are staycation destinations for fine dining at gourmet restaurants, whiling away the morning on the golf course, entertaining the whole family, and getting back to nature with hiking and biking in the mountains. And every resort on the list has one thing in common -- pools galore with shaded cabanas, food and drink service, and water slides.
Camelback Mountain is easily taken for granted when living in the Valley of the Sun. Get more acquainted with the majestic landmark at Sanctuary, where you can stay at the foothills. There's a spa with indoor and outdoor treatments, tennis resort with classes like Zennis (yoga + tennis), and fitness services like assisted stretching. There's even a three-day guest package for triathlon training in the 25-yard outdoor lap pool, guided desert bike ride, and tandem run with an instructor. The day begins with a power breakfast for maximum performance, and at the end of each training day aspiring athletes get pampered in the spa. Running not your thing? The Mi Casa, Mi Chef package might be more your speed with two nights in a private mountainside home, a trip to the local farmers market with a chef to shop, and an interactive cooking session with a customized menu and wine pairings.
Staycation often implies a resort getaway, but that leisurely pace isn't for everyone. If you want to explore downtown Phoenix during your getaway weekend, Hotel Palomar is just the place. Located in the heart of CityScape, it provides easy access to Chase Field, US Airways Center, the Arizona Science Center, and a lot of great restaurants, clubs, and venues, including Crescent Ballroom. Of course, you don't have to leave the premises to have a good time. On the roof, there's an outdoor pool with views of the city skyline, or there's a large living room lounge area serviced by the Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails. Other special accommodations include an evening wine hour for guests, pet-friendly amenities, and complimentary access to Gold's Gym Elite. Take advantage of summer deals like $102 and a Round of Brew, which includes deluxe accommodations + a round of four beers (code: BREW).
Don't have a lot to spend but need to get out of the house and, preferably, into a pool? The Clarendon in Central Phoenix has everything you need to relax. The retro boutique hotel has been updated with contemporary art and amenities like iPod docks and Philosophy brand toiletries. And there are plenty of places to while away the day without leaving the premises. Sunbathe on the rooftop deck, cool off in the pool (complete with underwater speakers and constellation of thousands of glowing stars), and indulge in a poolside cabana. Or eat and drink the day away at Gallo Blanco, one of Phoenix's best modern Mexican restaurants.
This AAA Five-Diamond resort has something for everyone. If lounging around isn't your idea of a relaxing holiday, the Scottsdale Fairmont Princess is the perfect haven. There are three pools, two fitness centers, a golf course, and a tennis center. Classes like TRX, CrossFit, Krank Fusion (cycling), Rip Surfer, Zumba, Tai Chi, and aerial yoga will keep you on your toes while providing a fun way to break out from your regular running or yoga routine. Once you've worked up an appetite, there are four incredible restaurants to choose from: Bourbon Steak, La Hacienda, The Grill at TPC, and Ironwood American Kitchen. No matter how long your stay, you'll never run out of workouts to try and gourmet meals to taste.
Do you have little ones ages 5 to 12 who love to play, create, and build? Sheraton Wild Horse Pass is hosting a Lego Summer Camp three weekends this summer: June 14 to 16 (just in time for Father's Day), July 12 to 14, and August 2 to 4. The package starts at $159/night and includes interactive activities like a LEGO 3-in-1 build session complete with races, games, and freeplay. The weekend also includes touch-tank experiences from SEA LIFE Arizona, a Tempe aquarium geared toward kids. While children play and attend exclusive events like Cinema Splash, parents can relax with 20 percent off greens fees at Whirlwind Golf Club, a la carte services at Aji Spa, and resort restaurants including Kai. Adults can also enjoy two complimentary drink vouchers while lounging by the pool. Each family participating will be entered to win a two-night stay at Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa plus two-day passes for LEGOLAND, SEA LIFE Carlsbad Aquarium, and LEGOLAND Water Park. Kids will also get a goodie bag including a $10 LEGO gift card. To book, mention rate plan LEGO13.
There's only one resort in town with its own full-scale water park. With an eight-story tower of water slides, gigantic wave pool, relaxing river for tubing, 25-person hot tub, and more, the seven-acre Oasis provides so much fun in the sun that it was named one of the country's top 10 water parks by Travel Channel. And that's only one of the great things Arizona Grand Resort & Spa has to offer. There's also a challenging golf course, luxury spa with salon, and an athletic club located alongside the South Mountain Preserve. It's a great location for hikers and bikers who want to roll out of bed and hit the trails.
Escape to a picturesque desert landscape in Carefree. There are multiple accommodations to choose from, including the Casitas with plush leather chairs, the standalone Boulders Casitas set against the natural Sonoran Desert terrain and ancient boulder formations, and the perfect-for-partying Pueblo Villas with several bedrooms, private patios, and fully equipped kitchens. When you choose to leave your room, the resort has plenty to do while you enjoy the stunning views of untouched desert. Guests can golf, relax in the spa, go rock climbing, take a desert photo tour at sunset, journey in a hot air balloon ride, and even stargaze with a professional astronomer. And then there's El Pedregal, a retail and dining hub within the resort that has boutiques, concerts, The Bakery Café, and Spotted Donkey Cantina. And if you can't bear to leave Fido or Boots behind, rest assured that pets are welcome for an additional fee, and gourmet pet food is available.
This mountainside oasis rests within the Phoenix Mountain Preserves in North Phoenix, making it a breeze to get to from I-17 or SR 51. Once you're there, you'll feel like you've left the city behind and gone on a desert retreat. The resort grounds include Falls Water Village water park with acres of pools and waterfalls, top-ranked Lookout Mountain Golf Course, Tocaloma Spa, and gourmet restaurants like Different Pointe of View, which offers spectacular views of the Valley. Tapatio Cliffs is also close to North Mountain Park, so guests don't have to go far for excellent hiking and biking trails.
Located in Litchfield Park, The Wigwam has a rich 80-year history and was rejuvenated in January 2011. The large West Valley resort includes four pools, a championship tennis facility, fitness center, bocce ball court, and Red Door Spa by Elizabeth Arden. It's the ideal staycation for Arizona golf enthusiasts, offering world-class education and guest access to five golf courses, including a 54-hole course on the premises and the Arizona Biltmore Country Club. The Wigwam is also a great destination for locavores with a farmers market on the front lawn every Sunday, The Tower Pool Bar & Grill, and Litchfield's, which provides fine dining for everything from a romantic meal on the veranda to high-energy dinner parties at the communal farm table.
The "Jewel of the Desert," the Arizona Biltmore is a uniquely Phoenix treasure that offers great escapes in the heart of the big city. The resort first opened in 1929 and has been wowing guests ever since with Frank Lloyd Wright-style architecture, designed by Wright student Albert Chase McArthur. And it has more to offer than history. The Biltmore also has a salon and spa, 36-hole golf course, tennis courts, and multiple pools to rotate between for a change of scenery, including Marilyn Monroe's favorite, the Catalina Pool, built by William Wrigley Jr. in 1930. And from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, children ages 4 to 12 can participate in the resort's childcare, including nature walks, arts and crafts, sports, and plenty of stops by the Kids Playground, designed to help little ones keep cool in the desert heat while having fun playing outside. The resort is also home to some of the Valley's best dining options: Frank & Albert's, Wright's at the Biltmore, and Cabana Club, a swim-up bar and poolside restaurant.
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